The Arkansas/Robinsons Commemorative is a shining example of the abuses of the Commemorative Coin Program that eventually led to the programs suspension in the mid-1950s. The Arkansas Centennial (in 1936) had already been the subject of a 1935 commemorative that was still being issued, but when the state of Texas proposed that the 1934 Texas Commemorative program be extended by changing the reverse design and re-issuing the coin, the State of Arkansas immediately jumped on the band wagon and requested the same for "Their" commemorative. The Texas proposal was defeated, but through strong political backing the Arkansas proposal was approved on June 26, 1936. The proposal as approved allowed for the coining of not more than 50,000 coins with a redesign reverse (this while the original design was still being coined and sold!).
The New “Reverse” featured the bust of then sitting Arkansas Senator Joseph T. Robinson. Mr. Robinson was a career politician that was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1903, followed by a brief stint as Arkansas’ Governor in 1913. He resigned the Governorship almost immediately to take a seat in the Senate, were he served until his death in 1937. The bust was designed by New Jersey artist Enid Bell and then the plaster model was executed by Henry G. Kreis. He delivered the plasters on Dec 23, 1936 too late to strike any coins in that year, so the entire initial mintage of 25,265 was struck in 1937 (despite the 1936 date on the coin!) . Plans for a second striking to deliver the balance of the authorized mintage were never carried out as sales were slower than hoped. However, all of the coins delivered were eventually sold.
The “reverse” design features the Portrait of Robinson Facing Right with his name just under his chin, the motto “Liberty” just above his Right shoulder and the Inscription “ Arkansas Centennial 1836-1936” arcing along the top rim. The final element on the new Reverse is a small “K” just to the right of the truncation of the bust for sculpture Kreis!
The obverse was the recycled reverse of the 1935 Arkansas Centennial coin with its Raising Sun, Eagle and Arkansas seal motif.
The Numismatic community never bought into the "Redesigned Reverse" fiction and the Robinsons side is universally considered the obverse of this coin!